New Thing # Oh-who's-counting: Newly Engaged edition

On a brisk, cold walk through Central Park, mere hours before I fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, my longtime love Mark Manderson got down on one knee to propose to me.

Heaven help him.

Sometimes, just weeks after his proposal, I find myself tearing up while driving through traffic when the light catches my ring, or watching movies, or simply staring out my window at work. I can't believe he wants to marry me!

I never anticipated being a 24 year old bride. That seems VERY young to me. I always saw myself standing on my own two feet for a while before finding someone. Focusing on career, then family. Perhaps this is because I didn't have many interested suitors for most of my high school and college years, and that the average age of marriage these days is just rising higher and higher due to the economy, divorce culture and a variety of other reasons.

But just like that, I met Mark in my last month of college, fell madly in love, moved in together after graduation, got a puppy, and got engaged.

"Life never happens how you expect it to," and "life's what happens when you're busy making other plans" seem to be ringing truer than ever these days.

And for that, I'm happy.

Because now that I've found someone who is willing to love me forever, take an interest in all of my day-to-day minutae, fight with me, grow old with me, raise babies with me (though no time soon, my friends!), and all that stuff, the other "is now the right time?" falls away.

And now comes the time to plan the wedding. Having a wedding is the realization of a once-in-a-lifetime dream. Planning a wedding makes me ANXIOUS.

See, I'm disgusted by the whole wedding industry. Mostly that one exists at all. In my mind, a wedding is an intimate union of two people and two families. For some it's a religious experience, too. To current wedding culture, popularlized by TLC shows (Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, Bridezillas etc.) it seems more like "gather everyone you've ever known, even cousins you've never talked to and friends you haven't seen in a decade" to flash how much money you have (or how much debt you're willing to go into) and what a great party you can throw for yourself.

I want our engagement and our wedding to be about Mark and I. About learning how to communicate with each other and love one another for the rest of our lives. About our journey to this point in our lives and about our future as man and wife. About our families who will become relatives with our union. About starting off on the right foot emotionally and financially. About our love for each other. That's some heavy stuff! Cause to celebrate, mais oui! but a much more intimate journey than I want to share with a crowd of 200!

A wedding is a single day of our lives. A marriage and our future family is forever.

I'm in it for the forever.

Leah vs. The Dog

Let me start this off by saying, I, wholly, undoubtedly love my dog. A love like you can't fathom. I'm fairly sure I'm going to love my dog more than I love my future children.

But being left alone with my dog makes me surprisingly uneasy.

Here's the thing. Mark knows how to keep a dog happy and busy with no required effort. He tosses the ball, does tricks and entertains our dog all while watching TV, cooking, showering, repairing furniture, studying for the GMAT, whatever.

When Mark leaves, the dog and I look at each other in this sudden impending, "well, now what?"

The dog doesn't even pick up his toys, knowing I'm skillfully inept at maneuvering them for effective play.

I don't multitask well with the dog.

I can't get anything out of a TV show while I'm peddling tricks and treats for our fair animal friend. It's not natural to me. If he suddenly learned how to join in a dance party (already tried it, he mostly thinks I've had a seizure and wants to stop it), or typed blog posts for me, or massaged my back, or cut my hair, or did anything off my to-do list, we could be good.

How do I entertain a dog while entertaining myself, i.e. being massively productive at all hours of the day? 

Our little sit-ins start with an epic staring match. And then me pretending like I don't see him looking at like he's totally bored. That goes on for a half hour or until the silence gets to me.

And then I just talk to him. At least he doesn't criticize or judge me. He thinks all of my ideas are awesome.

Perhaps that contributes to my productivity after all.

The Long Goodbye

So, officially, I'm quitting the New Things blog early. I know some of your will be disappointed, while others will relish that this doesn't show up in their Facebook news feed every day. This is a difficult decision, but I made it for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, if it hasn't been pretty obvious, I haven't necessarily been trying to do New Things so much as I have been letting them happen to me and writing about them. That's not the intention I set out with, and not something I feel passionately about continuing for the next 100 some days.

Second is that I'm just swamped with projects right now, and something has to give. When I have the options of working my day job, planning a New Thing, doing a New Thing, blogging about New Things I'm behind on, blogging for Atlanta Yoga Scene, updating my events and schedules pages on AYS, getting affiliates and advertisers so that I can make money off of AYS, pitching my new business idea, working on the website for said project, actually executing anything, hanging out with friends and family, keeping up with my yoga practice---I'm just paralyzed.

I have gotten myself into TOO MUCH STUFF, and something has to give. This isn't the first of those cuts, and certainly not the last either.

But trust me when I say that this blog didn't go down without a fight. In the period since I stopped blogging, I

  • Ran the Warrior Dash
  • Listened to a radio preacher
  • Did a forearm balance in yoga
  • Held the littlest baby I've ever held (Mark's sister just delivered!)
  • Met a documentary filmmaker (film: Marwencol--a MUST SEE!)
  • Held a seance with my puppy when the power went out
  • Ate the best pho in Atlanta (as judged by an outside party, not me!)
  • Visited my apartment complex's swimming pool (we've lived here a year and hadn't been!)
  • Watched the Casey Anthony trial
  • Attended and had my name mentioned at Wanderlust
  • and lots lots more

And, truthfully, this blog has been the catalyst for so much positive, life-altering change that I don't want to downplay it's significance. Learning about web presence, blogging, websites, building an audience, and offering unique content has been the driving force behind me starting both Atlanta Yoga Scene and a side business that might get me out of the 9-5 workforce altogether. My dream! My heart!

I would love to document this journey for you, because in many ways, this is where it gets interesting, but I need the time and space to explore this fully and without the pressure of reporting my daily dramas.

Many thanks to all of you who love and support the blog, and always know that now and forever, I'll be doing New Things.

And one day, sometime in the next few years, when I set my own schedule or I resign myself to one "real" job and one project, I'll start this up again. I can guarantee you that.

Day 240: Making it Rain

Doo do to approach this post.

To the uninitiated, there's a pop culture tradition(?)/action/demonstration of wealth/*thing* where young rich celebrity men throw money in the air in the VIP at clubs. It's called, "making it rain." They can either hold a stack of money and brush one off the top until a stack is gone, or they can just throw the whole stack in the air all at once.

Why? Who knows. When you're wealthy, be crazy, right? [FACETIOUS]

On Day 240, I made it rain. Now, I did this at 7:30 in the morning after waking up in the farthest thing from a club (my bedroom) after noticing that Mark had a whole bunch of singles hanging around. I would have been a much cooler person had I done this in a club with Benjamins, but let's be honest--that's not my scene and I'm not willing to pay the $20 cover for the privilege of throwing away my cash.

But my version was plenty fun anyway :)

Day 239: Hawking

On Day 239, I went to my very first Hawks game, which just so happened to be the most important game in recent Hawks-hood. They hadn't been to the Eastern finals in 30 years, and if they had beat the Bulls in this game, they would have gone to game 7.

And, if it wasn't painfully obvious, I don't know exactly what all this means, but Mark was super stoked about the game, and I was stoked to do New Things.


Which is ironic since the Hawks lost. Bad. They started out bad and ended bad.

I did, however, get an awesome t-shirt.

As for the experience, it was pretty good! I mean, I like basketball. They score a lot and fouls are pretty obvious. There's a lot to be excited about. Other sports like hockey and soccer and even football can be hard for me to follow because scoring and fouling aren't always obvious. I'm a girl. Cut me some slack.

I guess the best parts of the game were the more tangible things. Mark and I had good seats. I was on the jumbo-tron within the first 15 minutes of the game. I had delicious cold Sweetwater beer and a hot date. I also got those cool wavy white balloons with which to distract free-throwers. All of that made the game awesome. Even if the Hawks lost.